About Rick Hodes

Rick Hodes is an American doctor who has lived and worked in Ethiopia for nearly 30 years. He is the Medical Director for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in Ethiopia, a 105-year old NGO. He has been in charge of the health of Ethiopians immigrating to Israel. He has also worked with refugees in Rwanda, Zaire, Tanzania, Somalia, and Albania. Currently, he is the senior consultant at a Catholic mission helping sick destitutes with heart disease (rheumatic and congenital), spine disease (TB and scoliosis), and cancer. He practices in the basement of a busy Addis Ababa hospital, concentrating on spinal deformities and rheumatic and congenital heart disease. A colleague recently said, “Rick has the largest collection of the worst spines in the world.”

Hodes is a graduate of Middlebury College and University of Rochester Medical School and trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins. Hodes first went to Ethiopia as a relief worker during the 1984 famine. He returned on a Fulbright Fellowship to teach internal medicine at Addis Ababa University, and in 1990 was hired by the JDC as the medical adviser for the country. His original position was to care for 25,000 potential immigrants to Israel. In 1991, he was an active contributor during “Operation Solomon,” helping the Ethiopian Jews airlifted to Israel.

In 2007, Dr. Hodes was selected as a “CNN Hero,” a program that highlights ordinary people for extraordinary achievements. He was honored as ABC’s Person of the Week in 2010. He is the holder of five honorary degrees and has been a commencement speaker at Brandeis, and UC Davis and University of Rochester Medical Schools. The American College of Physicians has awarded him “Mastership” and the Rosenthal Award for creative practice of medicine.

His work is the subject of the HBO documentary “Making the Crooked Straight” as well as the book “This is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes” by Marilyn Berger. A recent documentary, Zemene, highlights the life of a young spine patient and her journey from rural Gondar to Addis Ababa, spine surgery in Ghana, and speaking in New York City.

3 Responses

  1. Hello,
    Sorry for the extremely delayed response. Unfortunately, legitimate website comments often get lost in a sea of spam. In the future, please contact Dr. Hodes by email at ethiopianspines@gmail.com. Also, please “like” him on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rick-Hodes/173188639358032 and follow him on Twitter @rickhodes for regular updates.

  2. […] a doctor who has made this his life’s mission. A Jewish man originally from the United States, Dr. Rick Hodes has lived in Ethiopia for over 20 years, treating patients with spine disease, as well as cardiac […]

  3. […] the years, we’ve connected with Dr. Rick Hodes who is an American doctor who has dedicated nearly 30 years of his life serving the […]

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